Curry and mustard seeds spice up this lamb dish
Put 500g of minced lamb in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tsp of bottled green peppercorns, rinsed of their brine, and a tsp or two of yellow mustard seeds. Stir in 2 level tbsp of decent curry powder or home-made spice blend, then season. Shape into four thick patties and set aside in a cool place for 15 minutes.
Thinly slice a small fennel bulb, then peel, halve lengthways and core half a small cucumber. Cut the cucumber into thin slices then add to the fennel. Lightly beat 350ml of natural yogurt (not the strained variety) until it becomes soft and runny, then add the cucumber and fennel, 4 tbsp of shredded mint leaves and some salt and black pepper.
Fry the lamb patties in a shallow, nonstick pan in a very small amount of oil. Turn them from time to time to encourage even cooking. When they are golden brown and sticky on the outside, lift, drain briefly in kitchen paper and serve with the fennel and yogurt raita.
A good meat patty should have an open texture, so it is best to avoid squeezing the meat too hard. However, this means they will be tender in the pan, so add them to hot oil and leave them be, allowing a light crust to form before you carefully turn them over.
Use chicken or beef mince if you prefer. Chicken can be a little dry when minced, so it may benefit from a couple of rashers of bacon per 400g of meat. Make up your own curry powder with cumin, cardamom and coriander seeds finely crushed, then add chilli and black pepper to your taste to make the mix as mild or hot as you wish. I like to add a little ground turmeric, too.
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image: © dana robinson